What is the difference between buying shares vs trading stocks?

When trading a stock, you do not own the underlying product. You are buying a contract between yourself and the provider (your broker). The difference between buying a share and trading a long is down to the leverage that is employed. CTFs are traded on margin, which means you do not need to front the money for the full position you take. Essentially you only have to put down a small percentage of the actual cost of the shares. This then opens up more options when it comes to your investment portfolio;

1 - Open larger positions than your capital would otherwise allow when buying a share. OR

2 - Frees up funds to invest elsewhere. There are risks associated with this but it also allows for larger returns.

An example would be if you decided to invest £5,000 into Apple because they are due a new iPhone out soon. Their share price is currently trading at $100. You would be able to buy 50 shares at $100. If you were buying shares, you would be required to deposit the full £5,000 into an account. All of the £5,000 would be tied up until you decide to sell some of the shares.When trading you only need to put a fraction of the £5,000 into an account. It depends on the leverage offered by the broker. If we continue with the example and a broker offers you 20:1 leverage, you only need to front £250 (£5,000 x 100p x 5%). 5% is the margin required to open trade. This then leaves you £4,750 to invest elsewhere. You only need to invest 5% of the value of the trade!

What are the advantages of trading stocks?

Short selling - Trading stocks allows you to trade the stock in both directions. Not only can you profit from the market going up, but you can also benefit when a market crashes.
Margin - Another advantage is that you can trade on margin, which means you can trade without having to put down the full value of your position. And therefore frees up your funds for other investments. See example under Buying Shares vs Trading Stocks.

Guaranteed stops - Most providers offer guaranteed stops, whereas you cannot guarantee a stop when owning share, because you may not have a buyer at that price.

Increased liquidity - when trading, you get the liquidity in the underlying in addition to the liquidity offered by the provider.

Low transaction costs - Brokers using charges are considerably cheaper than buying shares through a full-service broker.

What is the minimum you need to invest in shares?

Since you will be trading stock, you do not have to put down the full value of your position, which allows you to deposit less if you wish. All brokers will have a minimum deposit amount and each broker’s minimum will vary according to the broker in question. We have simplified the search for you by comparing the best brokers and giving you the details you need to know at a glance.

What does investment portfolio mean?

An investment portfolio is a collection of assets (stocks, commodities, treasuries, FX, indices, property etc) an individual or an institution owns. What you decide to have in your investment portfolio is up to you, but common advice you may hear is that you should only invest in what you know and make sure to diversify your portfolio

What is the best way to invest $5,000?

The first bit of advice you will come across is to always diversify your portfolio. 'Do not put all your eggs on one basket'. If that basket bursts, you are left with nothing. When it comes to stocks, we are talking about diversifying between sectors.

For example, make sure you don't just have tech stocks, diversify to healthcare, financials and services etc.. It is also advisable to know who the companies you are investing in are. If your strategy is to use these extremely popular and successful copy trader sites, we would advise you to familiarise yourself with the stocks you're investing in.

What are the costs of buying and trading shares?

When trading shares, you will be charged a spread on your initial position, so don't worry when you start offside, it's normal! The size of the spread is up to the broker and will depend on the stocks liquidity.

You may also be charged an overnight fee, which is often no more than one unit of your position. If you are trading using NO leverage then you will not be charged overnight fees. This is because when you are trading with leverage, the broker takes on some of your position.

How do I pick the right stock for my investment portfolio?

Knowledge about the company you are investing in is important if you're implementing your own strategy. More often the less risky stocks to trade are the large ones because they often have safety measures in place to survive any problems they might incur.

Another way to identify the right stock to pick is by using market sentiment. We have found the brokers with the best market sentiment and copy trader systems in place.

What are the hottest stocks to invest in?

We cannot advise you on individual stocks to trade, however when you look at some of the major indexes you can see that year on year they continue to grow.

This suggests the stocks that make up the indexes are reliably growing year on year, and it is just a case identifying the better performing stocks. Identify the sectors that are growing in general (ie. tech) and the sectors that we cannot do without (ie. healthcare).

What is a dividend?

A dividend is a portion of a company’s profit or surplus that it pays to its shareholders on a typically quarterly basis. This is quantified per share, so the more shares you have, the higher the dividend. Companies don’t always pay dividends, instead choosing to invest their profits in their own growth, so looking for a high dividend yield at the cost of growth may not be the best strategy for investing in a company long term.

What rate of return can I expect?

For those looking to invest in stocks part time, an average rate of 10% annual return can be expected, although no guarantees can be made. This figure factors in long-term investment (typically over 10 years) due to the fluctuations in the stock market.

In your first year, you may make gains upward of 30% or see a dip in the market and make a loss – only over several years can you begin to see this steadier average.

How many different stocks should I invest in to get started?

You may be eager to create a large portfolio straight away to increase the security of your investments. However, for someone who is new to trading, this may do more harm than good. Watching too many potential stocks can split your attention too severely, so we’d recommend watching up to 10 stocks and investing in up to six to get started.

What are the different sectors I can invest in?

The Global Industry Classification Standard (GICS) consists of 11 sectors used by the financial community.

These consist of Energy, Materials, Industrials, Consumer Discretionary, Consumer Staples, Health Care, Financials, Information Technology, Communication Services, Utilities, and Real Estate. Diversifying between some of these sectors can give your portfolio more security.

What do “bearish” and “bullish” mean?

Bearish and bullish are terms associated with market sentiment, which is the overall attitude of investors towards a certain market. If the market sentiment is bearish, the price of the stock is decreasing.

If the market sentiment is bullish, the price of the stock is increasing. In these respective markets, the belief is that these changes will occur on a long-term basis, so strategies for trading stocks or buying and selling shares should incorporate these attitudes.

What’s the difference between a long and short position?

A long position is when an investor has bought and owns shares of stocks. A short position, contrastingly, is when an investor owes stocks to someone, but doesn’t yet own them. A long position is usually taken by an investor who is confident that the value of the stock will increase, while a short position is used to take advantage of a reduction in value.

A drop in the price of a stock allows an investor in a short position to buy the stocks that they owe at a lower value than they originally sold them for.

How does TopBrokerExchange rate brokers?

There are no less than 57 criteria that go into the evaluation of each broker. Chiefly, the quality of customer service is taken into consideration, such as whether their site is easy to understand and access, if their contact information is easily located, and if they are accessible through multiple mediums (email, phone, chat, mail, etc.).

Accessibility is another key aspect of our ratings. Is the interface simple enough to understand while providing strong functionality? We also evaluate the cashier options to ensure that there are a good range of banking methods, that the site itself is secure, and whether it is easy to deposit and withdraw fu